MONTEGO BAY, St James — Village United scored back-to-back wins for the first time this season after blanking defending champions Harbour View 2-0 at Jarrett Park on Sunday to end the first round of the Digicel Premier League on a high.
Goals from Oliver Trail and Shavar Campbell gave Village only their third win of the season but four days after a 1-0 win over rock bottom St George’s SC ended a six-game winless run.
The win took them out of the relegation zone and into ninth place on 12 points and some breathing space for coach Christopher Russell, who took over in mid-round.
Russell had come under pressure from Village fans who voiced their disapproval of his tenure as the team lurched from one disappointment to the other.
The wins at Lynch Park and Jarrett Park, away from Elliston Wakeland Centre, were not lost on Russell, who told reporters after the game that he had hoped the wins would come in front of the fans.
He credited the wins to the hard work put in by the players in training, adding that not conceding a goal in the last two games was also a sign that the defensive schemes were working.
Harbour View’s Donovan Hayles was quick to write off the first round, saying they have to forget it and just aim at improving when the return round starts.
While insisting that they were not out of the running to retain their title, Hayles said bad decision making process by the players had factored in their not making it to the end-of-round final and finishing in sixth place after the first 11 games.
Harbour View were chasing the game early after Trail rose unchallenged and headed powerfully past Michaud Barrett in the fourth minute of the game.
The east Kingston team came back immediately, but Marcelino Blackburn’s powerful free kick from just on the edge of the area was well saved by veteran goalkeeper Elvis Hart, going to his right to push it away for a corner.
Three minutes later Rafeik Thomas headed a cross just wide from close range.
Harbour View had yet another good chance to score late in the half when Andre Fagan, who had a goal ruled out for off-side, lobbed the ball just inches past the goalkeeper’s right post.
It was Village who were more assertive at the start of the second half however with the speedy strike pair of Campbell and Romando Anderson creating problems in the Harbour View defence.
The pressure paid off as 19 minutes into the half, Campbell found a way past Barrett again after the Harbour View defence failed to clear a ball out of danger and the forward pounced on it and steered it into the goal.
Harbour View had one good chance in the half but Richard Edwards cannoned the ball off the near right hand post.
Village United — Elvis Hart, Jerome Eccleston, Winston Wilkinson, Rohan Bernard, Fitzroy Campbell, Orlando McBayne, Troy Smith, Oliver Trail, Shavar Campbell (Teafore Bennett 90th), Romando Anderson (Dino Williams 73rd), Ronique Francis (Everette Mullings 75th)
Subs not used: K Hamilton, A Williams, J Eccleston, A Nickles,
Booked: Trail (63rd), Mullings (83rd
Harbour View: Michaud Barrett, Dicoy Williams, Montrose Phinn, Jaron Richards, Daveion Woodhouse, Richard Edwards, John-Ross Edwards (Romario Campbell 65th), Marcelino Blackburn (Oneil Fisher 72nd), Nicholas Beckett, Andre Fagan, Rafeik Thomas (Jahmali Spence 67th)
Subs not used: D Haughton, L Hodges, F Campbell, L Nelson
Booked: Richards (47th)
Referee: Karl Tyrell
Assistant Referees: Recordus Wilson, Nicholas Anderson
Fourth Official: Donat McKenley
Match Commissary: Tracey Reid